Washington Senators Friday: Bob Chance

1965 Topps

Bob may appear to be a Senators All-Star Rookie, but he team on the strength of a 1964 season in which he posted a .279/.346/.433 line as a 1B/OF for the Indians. For some reason, Topps added him to the team as a Senator. Odd choice, as the Indians didn’t trade him to the Senators until December 1st, 1964, shipping him out with Woodie Held (heh) for Chuck Hinton, another Senator who’ll show up in the near-future.

Bob knocked 14 home runs and had 75 RBI as a 23-year-old rookie in 64, with his best game coming on June 7th, the first game of a double-header against the Senators, no less. He went 4-for-5 with 2 solo homers and an intentional walk. An intentional walk when he had solo homers? How weak was that Indians lineup? Pretty weak, as it turns out; Chance placed second on the team overall with 75 RBI and was second in OPS behind the catcher, John Romano.

A portly fellow.

Romano was 0-for-6 in that game.

Unfortunately, Chance was a one-year wonder. His stats nosedived in 65, dropping to .256/.317/.362. He went from a .780 OPS (a serviceable, useful player – think a Shane Victorino) to a .678 OPS (bottom-of-the-lineup numbers, Nick Punto at 1B). He only played in 72 games, sharing time with Dick Nen, who was basically the same player. He also spent 18 games at AAA Hawaii, returning there in 66 as well. He played 31 games in the Majors in 66, dropping to a .481 OPS.

He’d spend most of 1967 at AAA Hawaii, hitting .273/.351/.422, a not too mean feat in the PCL, which favors hitters. He got another shot at the majors in 67, playing in 27 games and hitting .214/.340/.476. Despite bit better than the few previous years, his counting stats sucked, and so he spent the entirety of 1968 at AAA Buffalo, where he hit .293/.344/.519, a marked improvement. California picked him up in the Rule 5 Draft at the end of 68; he played 5 games with the Angels, and was done.

So what was Bob’s impact on the Senators? What grand conclusions can we draw from his journey? Not much, unfortunately. He was another player who seemed more solid than he really was, struggled with his weight, and declined rapidly after a good rookie season.

But he still has a place in Senators and Indians history, and I’d hope that might be enough for a guy like him. Oh, and his son, Tony Chance, would go on to be a top prospect for the Pirates in the late 80s.

He’s a whole other kettle of fish that we’ll get to one day.


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